Keiron Gregory, 24, of Toronto has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty for his involvement in the 2020 murder of Bill Horrace.
Horrace died of a gunshot wound on June 21, 2020 following a deadly home invasion at his home on Pochard Lane, a side street near Clarke and Hamilton roads in east London, Ont.
Horrace’s death drew widespread attention after it was revealed he had been previously accused of war crimes in Liberia, having served under convicted war criminal Charles Taylor. His past has not been linked to his killing in 2020.
Four suspects have been listed in the murder, but Gregory, who was 22 at the time, is the only one to have been publicly named. He was arrested by police in July 2020 in North Bay.
In July 2022, Gregory pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and one count of break and enter.
Three months earlier, his father Trevor Gregory pleaded guilty to breach of trust. An agreed statement of facts read during the guilty plea revealed that Trevor, a detective constable with the Toronto Police Service, had provided his son with Horrace’s address, however there was no evidence to suggest he knew what would happen to Horrace.
Two North York women charged in connection with the case, Tianna Almeida and Tera Amoatema, are accused of “being an accessory after the fact to the offence of assault with a weapon.”
In his sentencing on Tuesday, Superior Court Justice Duncan Grace said Gregory’s refusal to identify the others involved in Horrace’s death would not factor into his punishment.
Grace also noted that Gregory had met with Horrace at a hotel in Toronto less than a week before Horrace’s murder.
Florida woman sues Kraft for $5M over Velveeta pasta prep time
Top of the class: Here are Canada’s most popular baby names in 2022
“At that time, Mr. Gregory handed over about $80,000 in Canadian currency, relying on Mr. Horrace’s representation that he could turn the investment into easy money…. It did not take long for Mr. Gregory to realize that the promised transaction was too good to be true,” Grace told the court.
After failing to reach Horrace over the phone, Grace says Gregory enlisted his father’s help in tracking down Horrace’s address by using the licence plate of the vehicle Horrace had driven to their Toronto transaction.
On the morning of June 21, Gregory, along with three armed men, entered Horrace’s home and took part in what Grace described as a “fierce and brutal conflict.”
The judge adds that Horrace was struck by a baseball bat multiple times before being shot in the chest at close range. He succumbed to his injuries soon after.
Grace says he received 17 letters of support for Gregory that “paint a glowing picture.” One also describes the 24-year-old as a “model inmate” during his time in prison.
Victim impact statements from Horrace’s family tell another story and say Father’s Day, which took place during his death in 2020, is “a grim reminder of an incident that turned their lives upside down, a once-safe residence is now a place to be avoided,” Grace added.
In listing mitigating factors, Grace said Gregory is a young man and first-time offender who accepted responsibility for his actions and expressed remorse through his guilty plea.
“I am of the view there is a very real prospect of rehabilitation. With dedication and perseverance, Mr. Gregory may well make important and endearing contributions within and well beyond his community,” Grace added.
Aggravating factors included the impact on the victim, as well as the fact that Gregory committed the offence on a property he knew was occupied and used violence toward an inhabitant.
Grace sentenced Gregory to 10 years in prison for manslaughter and two and a half years in prison for break and enter, which are to be served at the same time. With the time already spent in custody, Gregory will serve just under eight additional years in prison.